How To Coordinate Lighting That’s Smashing, Not Boring

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

You know when they say “renovation fatigue,” they just aren’t kidding. We’ve undergone a year-long massive reno of a classic four-square and I do believe that every last brain cell devoted to decision-making has been wiped clean.

 

It’s the light fixtures that are going to do me in. I mean, how do you coordinate lighting that looks smashing, not like you went to Home Depot and got something ordinary?

 

And, especially the hanging fixtures. There’s a kitchen with an island and a table. That’s two hanging fixtures and two sconces. But just outside the kitchen, there needs to be another hanging fixture. And across from that is the dining room with yet chandelier of some sort.

So, right there, we have four hanging fixtures, plus sconces, plus lamps that need to work together in some sort of cohesive way.

In addition, while our home is traditional, and we’ve taken great care to retain its authenticity, we don’t want it to look like a museum. Our taste is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional.

Of course, I’m not expecting you to choose our lighting, but am hoping that you could do a post on what to look for and how to deal with four + hanging fixtures in adjoining rooms.

Thanks so much,

Faith Fulrieder

 

Thank you Faith! ;] And, I hear you on this dilemma of how to coordinate light fixtures.

 

If anyone tries to tell you that it’s easy, they are sorely mistaken. Although, Lotte Meister from a recent post makes it look like nothing. But that’s because she’s very talented. You can see for yourself here.

 

As a matter of fact, in my 800 square foot apartment, I four different hanging fixtures in a relatively small area.

  • There’s my entry chandelier which I don’t mind, but the finish is wrong.
  • Across from it is the kitchen with two ceiling light fixtures which do the job, but nothing I ever would’ve chosen.
  • Moving from the entrance, just out of site is the rest of the hall which has a third hanging fixture that I rather hate lol
  • and that leads into my bedroom which is a fourth fixture that is pretty embarrassing.

 

One thing I’d like to point out from the start is that when one has to coordinate lighting fixtures and so many are attached to the ceiling, they don’t all necessarily need to hang

 

And that is especially true if the ceiling is under nine-feet.

And that brings me to the number one mistake and that’s that people either don’t look at the measurements, or can’t translate them into what they mean.

 

STORYTIME! and this is a classic and 100% true (Only the names have been changed) ;] regarding some former clients who messed up big time while trying to coordinate lighting fixtures.

 

This is how it began…

The wife half of a glamorous young couple contacted me for a potential job in a gorgeous home they had just purchased in an affluent section of Westchester County. The wife, we’ll call her Endora was sure that I understood WHERE the house was.

At the time, I ignored that small amount of pretentiousness, but when she was talking about their parent’s home and I asked about it because I did not know her parents. She countered with “Well, their compound in We’vegotmoremoneythanGodtown, is very well-known.”

Is it? I see…

That one, I will never forget for as long as my brain synapses are firing.

This was at the beginning of our third meeting. The second meeting, Endora was not there, but her young, handsome husband, Darren was and we went over everything on their wish list and I took careful measurements. And then, I started working on the plans and spent hours and hours

 

It was a beautiful home– great bones and I could just see the amazing photos I would be able to get after it was all done for my portfolio.

 

In the midst of this, came a plethora of emails of items on their wish list including the desire for a custom table to replace the $19,000 “antique” they saw in New Orleans. (it was most definitely NOT an antique table!) I drew that one up too and submitted it to one of my favorite vendors in Laurel’s Rolodex (one over 30 that I can’t live without)

 

And then, they sent me a link to the  HUUUUGEST chandelier I’ve ever seen.

 

It was one of those minimalist things that we’re all sick of. You know the black iron kind. But in addition to that, this one was 48″ tall and over two feet wide. And while their family room has high ceilings, it is not a terribly large room. These would look cartoonish in there and I delicately told them that I did not think that they were right for the room for that reason, but that I would find something similar that would be perfect.

They also sent me a chandelier for the kitchen table – 42″ diameter. Their table would be no more than 60″– round. But again, for the space, that size would be way too large. I would’ve not done a chandelier more than 32″ in diameter and probably smaller.

 

This was our first real meeting and I had a big bag of fabrics and four floor plans. But, just as we were about to begin the meeting a petite well-groomed older woman showed up and was introduced to me as Endora’s mother. Endora senior.

 

She looked at me as if I was covered in vomit.

 

Simultaneously, I couldn’t help but notice that something was going on with her uhhh… face. I felt badly for her at first, because it looked painful. The only way I can describe it is, you know how when you put your favorite jeans in the dryer for too long and then try to get into them again after Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed? And since you have nothing else to wear, because everything else is at the dry-cleaner, you have to make do? That’s what her face reminded me of.

 

Oh, I’m being as kind as I can possibly be, because Endora Senior was about as rude short of spitting in my face as one could be. I mean, she went on and on quite frequently with Endora Junior as if I was not even in the room, often whispering in her daughter’s ear. And then, when Endora #1 did allow me to speak she went out of her way to undermine me make me look like a nincompoop.

 

By the way, the entire time this farce was going on, Darren stayed as far away from the three of us as he could– pretending to be entertaining their toddler. Smart guy.

 

There’s a lot more, but I’ll spare you. It’s fine. These clients were not a good fit for me and I was grateful that I found out early on in the job. The next day I kindly emailed Darren to tell him that it’s not possible for me to work on the same job with other designers.

Yes, that’s right. Mommy is a decorator! (sort of) And thus, they blessedly fired me! Can’t tell you how relieved I was.

 

What is my point in telling you this sordid tale?

 

Well, about a year later, I was chatting with a contractor who had worked on the house.

He said, “Laurel, OMG! You should see the lanterns in their family room. They are HUUUUUGE!” And the fixture over the kitchen table is also way over-scale.”

Apparently, they had gone with the fixtures that I had warned them were too big for their home.

Oh well.

 

So, how do you know what the right scale is?

 

That one is tricky because light fixtures, particularly chandeliers, lanterns and pendants have many different configurations and some may be a large-scale, but have a “light feeling.” And some might not be that large measurement-wise, but because of the shape and materials, have a lot of heft.

 

A common rule of thumb to find the correct size chandelier is to measure two sides of the room together, such as 14 + 20 = 34 and that is the width or diameter of your chandelier.

 

Yes, pretty much so, unless your dining room table is only 36″ wide or your ceiling is only eight feet.

But, I have read in numerous sources that the same formula holds true for a lantern. No way, unless the ceiling is six stories high– at least! A lantern that is 34″ wide is absolutely ENORMOUS. (assuming that it’s a vertical piece.)

No, the formula for the diameter should be more like 14 + 20 = 34 ÷ 2 = 17 inches wide. If it’s going in a dining room, I think that there should be at least 18″ chain. Therefore, since you need there to be about 60″ between the bottom of the piece and the floor, for an eight-foot ceiling, your lantern cannot be more than 20-24″” tall and probably only 12″=13″ wide. If the room has a nine-foot ceiling or higher, you can go a little larger.

 

The other thing to know, if you don’t know already, is that the height is measured to the top of the fixture and ends where either the cord, rod or chain begins.

 

The reason that so many are having much stress over this is that today, there are an insane number of options. So, we need to whittle down the choices.

 

Here are some things that one has to consider when is coordinating lights in one’s home:

 

  • The style of the home
  • location – city, country, beach, lake, etc.
  • style of the furnishings, materials, colors, etc.
  • Size of the rooms
  • Number of fixtures required
  • Budget

 

One way to begin to coordinate light fixtures is to coordinate the finishes.

 

Does that mean that they all need to be the same?

No, but what won’t look good is to have antique gold and then chrome followed by bronze and then nickel near each other. And then, there’s the other hardware.

Most of the time, unless it’s art-deco or some more unusual style, I prefer warmer metals like brass, gold and bronze. But, those all work well together and you can also mix them with nickel.

To begin to get some inspiration you might enjoy these two posts about kitchen lighting I did a while back.

Why is kitchen lighting the hardest thing to get right?

My kitchen light fixtures are driving me bonkers

 

Now, I would like to share with you again Nancy Keyes’ beautiful kitchen.

 

She and her husband Marc created a show-stopping piece, a chandelier made with white tubing.  (for more images of Nancy’s beautiful kitchen click here)

 

Nancy Keyes fabulous kitchen with white chandelier they created themselves

Nancy Keyes’ Perfect Kitchen!

 

Below, is the inspiration for their kitchen chandelier.

 

Jean-Louis Deniot - beautiful white chandelier - Elle Decor - photo - Miguel Flores-Vianna

designed by Jean – Louis Deniot via Elle Decor – photograph – Miguel Flores-Vianna

 

I love that they saw something that spoke to them and then sought to re-create it. All of the lighting in Nancy’s home. Well, all of the furnishings are very personal and full of style and warmth.

 

Nancy-Keyes-library-keeping room - coordinate lighting

Nancy is using the adjacent room as an all-purpose “keeping room,” and I have no idea if there’s a hanging light fixture in it or not, but I thought it would be fun to take Nancy’s home and share some ideas for more ceiling lighting to go with what is already here in terms of light fixtures that I can see.

 

And, let’s say that the keeping room is being used as a dining room.

What piece would we choose for over the dining table and why?

 

Visual Comfort Aerin six light 26" wide Hampton Chandelier in white - via 1800lighting

I love this Aerin Hampton Chandelier in white. I think that this would coordinate beautifully with the kitchen chandelier in color and they enhance each other with a similar theme as both have an organic leaf as part of their design.

However, the shapes are distinctly different and that’s a good thing too.

My feeling is that the kitchen chandelier is the “star of the show.” But the Acanthus chandelier makes are beautiful supporting player.

 

Therefore, the idea is that there are one or two things that unify the various pieces, be it color, shape, style, theme or a combo of those.

 

Okay, so what about the hall?

Do you do more white?

I wouldn’t. Not for the finish, most likely, but white for the shade(s), yes!

Let’s look at Nancy’s hall.

 

Nancy Keyes entry- hall- black and white animal skin runner staircase after
I do not see a hanging fixture and there definitely does not need to be one. Or, there might be a hanging, flush-mount or semi-flush-mount fixture in front of the staircase, or by the front door, not visible here.

What would I do?

 

Well, I see that the predominant theme in Nancy’s home is black and white.   That is a big consideration.

 

And then I am  looking at her other main space, her living/dining room. Everything needs to work together.

 

Nancy Keyes gorgeous living room with white walls

This is probably the most frequently seen photograph on my blog. haha. Why? Because I love it and it’s the perfect “textbook” to convey many lessons, but in a totally non-textbook-y way.

Over the dining room table, Nancy chose a beautiful antique bronze and crystal vintage or antique chandelier

Nancy Keyes (@nancy.keyes.design on instagram) beautiful eclectic dining room - coordinate lighting - bronze and crystal chandelier

This is another view from an image I swiped off of Nancy’s beautiful instagram account. Please follow her if you are not already.

Some of you may ask if this chandelier goes with the other two. And I say, YES! Definitely. And that is because I am not just looking at the lighting. As you might notice here, Nancy’s style is stylishly eclectic. She pairs a rustic table top with a mid-century base, contemporary chairs and vintage French chairs. It all works together because of color, proportion, scale and the lines of the pieces.

 

Nancy is a true decorating artist.

 

But, how she does it all is like trying to describe how John Singer Sargent does his paintings. Even he most likely wouldn’t have been able to tell you how. .

I am going to offer a few options for the hall for ceiling light fixtures so that we can have more ideas for how to coordinate lighting beautifully.

Let’s bring that hall and staircase back down here.

Nancy Keyes entry- hall- black and white animal skin runner staircase after
It’s a long hall, so that means that we will need at least two ceiling light fixtures.

I am thinking something very simple for the hall. Our star is the amazing animal print runner.

 

ONE
Eastmoreland semi-flush 6" - oiled rubbed bronze - on sale - coordinating lighting fixtures

Option # one is from Rejuvenation. It is their Eastmoreland semi-flushmount fixture. But, in actuality, while I like it, I think that this one is better suited to Melissa Tardiff’s charming home that Nancy helped Melissa with, than Nancy’s home. I love it, but I think that Nancy’s home is a touch too continental for this. And Melissa’s home definitely has more of a retro vibe, if that makes sense.

But, let’s begin here anyway, because that is part of the design process. And, there are still some things to discuss that are relevant.

I believe that Nancy’s ceiling height is nine feet, so she has room for something that hangs down more, but it doesn’t have to and I like that whatever might be there is more tucked out-of-the-way.

This is one of the schoolhouse type shades. But, here’s what’s not readily noticeable on Rejuvenation. There are SIXTY different shades to choose from and ten different finishes.

I choice the oil rubbed bronze. It could be black, but high up like that, it will look black. But, there is a true black finish if you would rather have that.

I love semi-flushmount fixtures because they allow the light to bounce around more.

 

TWO – this is a better style I think for Nancy’s home.

 

Cahoon+3-Light+Semi+Flush+Mount

This is a pretty piece I found on Wayfair and it’s not expensive. 

 

I love the scalloped design and the fact that there’s a diffuser on the bottom to prevent glare. Alas, the finish is in brushed nickel and that, I don’t think will be ideal.

But… it could be painted. I would probably just paint this one white because from underneath, I don’t think you’ll see much of the canopy, anyway. But you will see the little piece on the bottom.

 

I think that I should do a high-low lighting post.

 

Would you like that? I’m seeing a lot of fixtures that are a fraction of their expensive twins. Some are better than others, however.

 

THREE

Robert Abbey Axis+2-Light+Semi+Flush+Mount

And then, I found this lovely piece from Robert Abbey

The black trim makes a stylish accent.

 

FOUR

 

semi flush mount from Shades of Light
This is a pretty piece from Shades of Light that I’ve specified a few times.

 

 

In fact I did it in this home for the front entry hall between two fabulous antique chandeliers. It was just the right piece to not fight with them.

 

Let’s say that we want to add sconces in some of these rooms.

 

Below is a selection from 1800 Lighting and One King’s Lane.

 

 

OMG, that reminds me, today is supposed to be the last day of the 25% off One Kings Lane sale with promo code: OKLPREFALL sale. However, we won’t know until tomorrow. But, just in case, there are only a few hours left.

 

1800 Lighting is a terrific source too. But, man, too bad about the name. 1800 anything sounds so déclassé , however, they have a huge variety of price points and some of the more difficult to find high-end lighting. And they have the full-line of Visual Comfort!

 

Please click the arrow because there are a few more out of sight.

 

 

 

 

And now for the news:

Thank you so much to all who’ve already voted for me in the Modenus Blogger of the Year.

 

If you’d like to read more about it here, you can look at Sunday’s post and scroll to the bottom. (unless you’d like to read the post first) :]

 

OR, if you already know the deal, please go here to vote again.

 

You can vote once a day– EVERY DAY until 10:00 PM this coming Friday, November 2nd.

 

All you need to do is give a thumb’s up. Easy

I am currently in first place (yippeeeeee!!!) However, some of the other bloggers are gaining ground and if I don’t get more votes, they may very well over-take me. I would really love to go on that trip to Las Vegas for the kitchen and bath show (KBIS), so I’d be so grateful if you could help me out and give me a thumbs up.

xo,

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Carolina - November 4, 2018 - 6:46 AM

    Great post on matching lighting, also read the previous ones!
    I have so much work to do now!!! My problem is that I love everything…from antiques, to country, vintage, and I will have to do a serious plan so as not to make a show room 😱
    Thank you Laurel! You shine! Ja jaReplyCancel

  • Lynn - November 1, 2018 - 11:29 AM

    Thanks Laurel for the Addtl reading links…will be reading those shortly !
    I also wanted to ask your advice for mixing metals on this ole lighting project I’m undertaking….do I keep sconces + overhead vanity the same metal, or mix ’em ?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 1, 2018 - 11:32 AM

      I’m sorry, without seeing the entire project + the rest of your house, I can’t give a responsible answer. However, IMO, it is fine to mix metals. ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - November 1, 2018 - 7:00 AM

    You are so very talented ! I get so much from your posts, even if it’s an area that doesn’t relate to my ongoing guest to update our 60’s brick rancher…

    Do you have any guidance for bathroom lighting ? I am smack dab in middle of redoing our main floor bathroom…approx 7X7 area. In other words “small” ~ but am stumped on whether I can use sconces on each side of vanity mirror with light on top, over mirror, or just go with one, meaning sconces only and not both..sconces and light over vanity mirror..?

    Would love your thoughts ! Thanks, Laurel, we Luv you !ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 1, 2018 - 9:35 AM

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks so much! For a small bathroom, if there’s room, I prefer sconces on either side of the mirror + some overhead light for ambient light. However, my smal bathroom has four recessed ceiling lights. That’s the way it came but there should also be some task lighting over the mirror and then all should be on two separate dimmers. And, I do hope to redo it next year. I don’t have room for lights on either side, so over the mirror is okay too. There are some good articles here about bathroom lighting.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - October 31, 2018 - 11:09 PM

    Yes please high low lighting post!! You are the best!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Genie Harris - October 31, 2018 - 6:30 PM

    Thank you Laurel for a very timely post….oh how I love Nancy’s house! Both of you have spectacular taste. I was also studying the Bronxville house earlier today because I am in the throes of planning my lighting for my house. That kitchen was just expertly done with the combo of sconces and chandelier. I have the EXACT same problem with rooms flowing into one another. I am doing a combo of chandeliers and flush mounts. I figure not everything has to be the star of the show. I oftentimes feel like I don’t know what the heck I am doing and get confused, and then you post the exact thing I need. :))))

    I really hope you win this contest. I have been voting repeatedly but also had some issues…No worries I am going right to.my phone after this and then I am going onto each one of my children’s phones….lol!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 7:32 PM

      You guys are making me chuckle for sure. I feel so blessed! That client really wanted SPARKLE and that’s what she got. I would’ve done a little less, but it is still very beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Michele - October 31, 2018 - 4:39 PM

    Hi Laurel! Sending you some votes from Norway – avoiding the problem by using different computers and forcing my daughter and husband to vote for you, too :)!

    Lighting question that stumps me at the moment: we have a dining table that can extend, but to one side only. Should one make a provision for that in the lighting?
    Like, having an oval light fixture?? Or something that spreads light over the whole possible length?

    We don’t use the extended version very often, just a few times a year…. maybe just go for what works best in daily life, and use candles when the table is extended?

    Now I will go and see if I can rustle up more computers/tablets in this house, so we can vote some more! Hope you get to go to Vegas!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 7:29 PM

      Hi Michele,

      How darling you are! I so appreciate the support. And from Norway. Are you Norwegian or American or something else? Your English is perfect. It’s funny, but earlier today, I couldn’t help but notice that someone had pinned a bunch of images from my site which they’re supposed to do. But what’s amazing, is that the alt tags (that’s a bit of text that I put in when I upload images to my site, so that when someone pins, that info shows up) were translated into one of the Scandinavian languages! That’s wild!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - October 31, 2018 - 4:25 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I got my vote in! And I’m getting my pink hat ready for the next Woman’s Day March to the polls next Tuesday. I hope you & all your readers plan on voting also.
    I love posts about lighting. It’s taken me a few mistakes to learn about scale & coordinating finishes. My mistakes have been costly! But I finally learned what my style is & how to do it. It only took me until I was 60! ♀️ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 7:24 PM

      Hi Mary,

      You bet I’m voting! Sometimes making mistakes is the best way to learn what doesn’t work! I’ve made plenty of my own. That’s for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - October 31, 2018 - 4:15 PM

    Laurel!
    Great post.
    I learned it while remodeling..so very daunting, it was. Figuring out all the lighting. But very rewarding afterwards. Took me months..first, to figure it all out..partially-instinctively..things like visual lightness etc. Then- source it..narrow down..put it all together..
    I know there will be many people who’ll benefit greatly from your post and from sharing your knowledge(and your humor as always))
    And I wish you win:)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 7:22 PM

      Thanks so much Jenny! It’s easy to source when it’s for fun, but when it’s your own place very difficult. And thank you for your well-wishes!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - October 31, 2018 - 3:22 PM

    1003 votes! I had to start a new Instagram to keep up with all the great design recommendations. I think that hallway/stairs is what finally pushed me over the edge on what style to use. Love it so much! I’ll be much more at home with Art Deco, because try as I might, I’m never going to be a minimalist. I have to restrain myself from buying everything now now now! The rug is on sale now, or the great sconce on craigslist, but the apt. isn’t built yet. I’m only up to the mood board stage right now.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 7:21 PM

      Hi Megan,

      This is so wonderful. Knowing who you are and what you want and like is 3/4 of the battle, if not 9/10. I can tell you that everything I flipped for 20 years ago, I feel exactly the same way now.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - October 31, 2018 - 12:49 PM

    Never mind. I saw the posts advising to use a different browser to be able to vote again, and it worked.

    Sorry I missed out on two days of voting though. 🙁ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 12:51 PM

      Oh good! That, that works too. Our notes crossed in the mail. Thanks again!ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 31, 2018 - 12:31 PM

    Amazing post! And what a beautiful home.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - October 31, 2018 - 12:24 PM

    Laurel, the site is NOT allowing me to upvote you again.

    Every day I try, and it still says, “You Upvoted. Click to undo.”

    If I click, sure enough my original vote goes away, and then I have to click to restore it. I don’t know if it’s their site or my computer – my computer does weird things sometimes.

    Anyway, you are missing all the votes I would have placed since the first one. 🙁ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 12:50 PM

      Ugh. I know! I had no problem the first two days and then yesterday, I did. I also am voting for my friends every day, not just myself. lol

      Someone else mentioned it too and she cleared her browsing history. But, we shouldn’t have to. The program is supposed to make it so it matters not if we’ve previously voted or not, 24 hours later. So, at least everyone is having the same problem.

      I recently cleared cookies and cache and I hate doing that. It gives an option of a short period of time or forever. I wish there was a one-week option. Because of that, my computer no longer knows me. And, I don’t want to inconvenience anyone just to be able to vote. The good news is that I’m in very good standing, at this point.

      You can also try voting on your phone, but turn off the wifi first.

      Thanks so much Lorri! Much appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Annette - October 31, 2018 - 10:26 AM

    Great post as always. Thanks for the link to the voting page, done!
    I’m working on replacing lighting in our mountain cabin, so this is much appreciated for sure!
    ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - October 31, 2018 - 9:57 AM

    WOW! You were right, I wasn’t expecting this! Thank you for all of your wonderful accolades! I love lighting and lighting from many different sources and this post had so much great information. As for the foyer/hallway: There is a hanging fixture by the back door and a wall sconce in the front area. The brass sconce is original to the house and I am not crazy about it. Just waiting for the right one to present itself. I love a couple of your examples! As always, dear friend, THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 11:49 AM

      Hi Nancy, I would’ve contacted you sooner had I decided what I was going to write about before 10:00AM yesterday. But, I didn’t want you to feel put out about scrambling for pics. Originally, I was going to do your house and Melissa’s house. Oh, it’s often that way. Biting off more than I can… It’s funny. When I look at your home, I feel transported to Paris. But Melissa’s home, while reminiscent of yours in so many ways, transports me back to the 1940s. I can absolutely hear Benny Goodman and his big band. So, I wanted to do the same exercise using more retro-style (without it being too much), actually, like you already have done.

      And I adore promoting you. I know this is most likely true in every profession, particularly the arts, but there are people who I don’t feel deserve to have the place they have in terms of fame and supposed talent; it’s all smoke and mirrors, IMO. However, you’re the real-deal and should be famous. I see you as a latter day Elsie De Wolfe– a true taste-maker.ReplyCancel

      • nancy keyes - October 31, 2018 - 2:51 PM

        OH MY! Laurel, I am beyond flattered and coming from you it means so much! Elsie!!! Again THANK YOU! I am always happy to snap pictures for you or have Marc get his big cameras!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Shuchman - October 31, 2018 - 8:04 AM

    Hi Laurel:
    Loved the post and had a good laugh at your description of the clients, especially Endora 1! Glad you escaped. I find myself perplexed by lamps as much as by overhead fixtures. How to get the right height for a lamp – so it’s neither too small or overpowering? How to choose the right shape for the base and shade ?- does it depend on the lamp table, the style of the room? And the color of the base( I’ve seen some lamps that really pop – there’s the element of surprise through shape and color) . Would love a post on this! Voted for you today!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 11:14 AM

      Hi Julie,

      Those are all great questions! I try to link to as many relevant posts as I can, but forgot this one about lampshades. However, it doesn’t cover everything on your list, but I think should answer most of the shade questions. I have mentioned scale, etc. as an aside to the main topic in numerous posts. The problem is that the variables are so overwhelmingly different.

      And thank you so much for your vote!

      However, when lamps, unless a skinny buffet lamp get over 30″ high, it sets off my alarms. While a big lamp can look smashing in some situations, if the ceiling is only 8 feet, there are fewer situations where it will look good, IMO.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - October 31, 2018 - 6:11 AM

    Laurel…any possibility you could send out a daily reminder to vote? Haha! I voted for you after your last newsletter and then forgot until I read this new one! (Ugh!) So, I’ve voted again. This “old” brain needs a daily reminder…Anyways..great post. I know all about the whole lighting dilemma thing and trying to coordinate everything in an open floor plan. It was not an easy task, but I think we conquered it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 10:47 AM

      Hi Colleen,

      That’s so sweet and I appreciate it. But a lot of subscribers would feel put-out with daily reminders of nothing but pure self-promotion. It’s really fine; it’s going well so far.ReplyCancel

  • Terri Davis - October 31, 2018 - 4:31 AM

    Hello Laurel! Your topic caught my interest as I often have to deal with coordinating several light fixtures that flow but are not matchy matchy. First let me say I adore the type of architecture that dominates in your neck of the woods. But it is not my reality living here in Florida where open plans often dominate. I currently am dealing with a home where as you enter the home you have a direct visual to the foyer, dining, breakfast and bar with the island be only a slight delay as you enter furthur into the wide open living room. In my case, overscale is a necessity or otherwise the fixtures get totally lost and do not make a statement. To go by standard formulas of size for individual areas does not work because these spaces openly spill over to adjoining spaces. I often have this challenge and sometimes have approached in a different fashion. The current home I am working on I used fixtures that had similar elements but not same collection in the entry, breakfast and bar but went with a more uniquely different and larger scale in the dining which is visual at entry along with the others as well as the kitchen island which is in few once you move approximately 10 feet in the space. The open plans prevalent in Florida homes can be quite a challenge. My point in commenting is it is also important to remember there is never one way to approach a dilema that you have to be flexible to each situation. In my case, at least one or two overscale chandaliers are necessary to ground the huge open space. A much different situation when you have a room where the rooms are more seperaed with full walls.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 10:39 AM

      Hi Terri,

      Always so nice to see you and for anyone who doesn’t know Terri, in addition to being an interior designer, she’s also an amazing artist. I couldn’t agree more about the standard “rules.” I prefer “guidelines” because one size definitely doesn’t fit all. It would if all rooms were a standard size and all light fixtures adhered to a standard, but alas, they don’t; not even close.ReplyCancel

  • Donna Carey - October 31, 2018 - 12:58 AM

    Hello Laurel!

    I voted, but only twice so far. It took me awhile to figure out I had to clear my browsing data to be able to vote again, but I think you got this! I have a question. The link in this post that takes you to “Is it true that dining rooms are out?” features a Miles Redd picture of a green dining room that is one of my inspirations for my dining room. My grandmother’s dining room, as I so fondly remember it, is also one of my inspirations; it was a large, comfortable gathering room, almost a living room that just happened to have a big table in the center. What really intrigues me about the Miles Redd photo are the lamps on the dining table. I love that! But it doesn’t show the ceiling. I’ve searched the Internet for more pictures, but I can’t find anything that shows what, if anything, he used as a light source/fixture on the ceiling. What would you put on that ceiling?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 2:03 AM

      Hi Donna,

      Yes, I had to do something like that too and then use a different browser. I’m voting for all of my friends too!

      As for Miles’ cool dining room. I don’t believe that there is a ceiling fixture. As far as I know, those lamps on the table are it.

      How does that work? Well, I presume that there’s a hole in the table and they are plugged in underneath the table.ReplyCancel

  • Julie S - October 31, 2018 - 12:34 AM

    Would love to see a high-low post! I’m slowly working on the lighting for our semi-open-floor-plan living/dining/kitchen/homeschool corner/fireplace/reading nook space ahahaha!! It’s a long skinny rectangle with a semi-enclosed kitchen in one quadrant, leaving that famous L shape for the rest. Previous owner vaulted the ceiling when they built in the 70’s but ran a huuuuge soffit down the center for air conditioning, so our inner ceiling line is more of an M with a flattened middle than an upside down V. Oh the things people do. Then they put three flush mounts ON the soffit. One flat on the bottom and two on the angled side of the soffit… shell shades no less. Laurel, it’s so awkward, and they didn’t even bother to center them to existing architecture! There are decently placed lights for chandeliers over the living and dining areas and I think I’ve almost got my fixture puzzle together. Now I just need to figure out what to replace the shells on the soffit with.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 2:16 AM

      Oh, that sounds pretty bad, Julie, but good that you’re figuring it out.ReplyCancel

  • Mya - October 30, 2018 - 11:50 PM

    Errrr, I forgot to say living room and I knew you would need clarification as soon as I sent it! The room is an odd 20×14, open to the newly remodeled kitchen. It definitely doesn’t need the light fixture but it has one that is hideous and needs replaced. Below it is an extra large CR Laine ottoman that would keep anyone from bumping their head. Removing it completely creates a whole new set of issues with all the switches (one on each of three of the walls – the horror – WHY did this happen?) Also these walls are painted paneling so it’s not as easy as patching drywall. So, yes, I’m just being lazy and cheap.

    One day I will blow the ceiling out creating a glorious vaulted masterpiece, bust out the back wall widening the room to a normal size and replace it with floor to ceiling glass – you know, the way it should have been! Haha oh well, a teenager still at home and one in college create Pesky budgets that crush my remodeling dreams… so the tacky shiny 80s brass 5 arm light fixture with yellow glass mushroom looking shades continues to taunt me daily ; )

    I think you are absolutely correct tho – if I divide by two – it’s a pretty easy solution. I love the black and white one you posted today!! I was just afraid it was too small. Problem solved…

    thank you so much for your reply!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 2:09 AM

      So glad that something resonated with your situation. What irks me are people writing sh*t and it’s obvious that they have no idea what they are talking about because what they are recommending doesn’t exist!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - October 30, 2018 - 11:43 PM

    “And it’s Laurel in the lead!” (Crowd cheering). Another thumbs-up post. I have been collecting vintage lights for a few years now. There’s this wonderful man in my city who used to do decor for the film industry in Nova Scotia. Now he repairs and rewires antique fixtures as a hobby and charges next to nothing. Sometimes when I’m suffering from serious renovation fatique, I go up into the attic where the light fixtures are stored, unwrap the beautiful glass shades and dream of the day when I’ll be ready to put them up. Then I read another Laurel blog and life is good again. 😀ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 31, 2018 - 2:05 AM

      Haha, too funny, Gail! Coming into the backstretch it’s… I love it when people are able to do whatever it is they want to do and have the means to charge next to nothing. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Mya - October 30, 2018 - 10:52 PM

    Great info! But….what do you do about the size of the light when the room adds up to 34-36 and the ceilings are only 8’? Normally, it seems designers always recommend a flush or semi flush mount for ceilings less than 9’ but finding one that is 34” is nearly impossible, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 30, 2018 - 11:11 PM

      Hi Mya,

      Well, first of all, what is the room? If it’s a dining room then, it’s not as big an issue because the fixture is going over a table and can hang down much lower. However, for a room that’s approximately 18′ x 18′ I would not do a ceiling fixture at all, if possible. First of all, it’s usually not necessary because there are table and/or floor lamps and sconces. The reason to not do it is that usually they leave horrible shadows. You don’t get that in a hall because the light doesn’t have far to go before it can bounce back.

      But, of course, I don’t know your exact situation. Also, if you look at my portfolio, the lead image is of a dining room I did. I everything but the stuff on the mantel and the chandelier. The chandelier is actually only about 27″ in diameter and yes, too small, but it really was fine. Better too small than too big, IMO.

      The other thing is even if you do, do a flush or semi-flushmount, I think my formula of dividing the number in half is about right for anything that isn’t a chandelier.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - October 30, 2018 - 10:36 PM

    Definitely a thumbs up for you!

    So sorry you had to deal with I’ll-mannered people. I have never understood the unkindness that some people display. Too bad they don’t realize how bad they look.

    I’m still tormenting myself over kitchen pendants. I chose some placeholders 18 months ago thinking I would find something I liked soon. Not yet.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 30, 2018 - 10:50 PM

      Thanks so much Susie. Lighting is difficult and the price tags can really start to add up quickly!ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - October 30, 2018 - 10:36 PM

    Thank you so much for this post. I learned so much. And yes please to the high low lighting idea. I would love that!
    Thanks again,
    BrendaReplyCancel

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